Best Video Doorbells of 2020
Comparison of the Best Video Doorbells
A Detailed List of the Best Doorbell Cameras
1. Ring - Best Doorbell Camera Overall
High quality hardware, cheap video storage, and the best Amazon Alexa integrationLearn more about Ring Doorbell
For most shoppers the Ring Video Doorbell 2 is the best doorbell camera overall. It’s priced competitively at $199 and video storage is a bargain at just three dollars a month or $30/year. This model is a best seller because it’s feature-rich, well-made, and compatible with anyone’s house or apartment. Use it wirelessly, or hardwire the Video Doorbell 2 to replace a standard doorbell.
This security doorbell is backed with lifetime theft protection… and it would be silly for someone to steal. It’s motion-activated to record crisp video in any light, and audio is clear with ambient noise automatically filtered away. Footage is streamed to your mobile device and/or desktop computer.
Ring video doorbells can work independently or be integrated with various home security systems. Ring Alarm security systems are especially popular for their Amazon Alexa integration: With Alexa voice commands you can control your video doorbell, door locks, lamps and more.
What We Like
- 1080p HD video quality
- Easy DIY installation
- Two-way audio feature
- Custom motion sensing
What We Dont Like
- Some Ring cams are too bulky
- Premium doorbell cams are pricey
- Ring Pro cam requires hardwiring
- False alarms happen frequently
In part, you can monitor a Ring doorbell without paid service. The free app for mobile phones and desktop computers will alert you when someone rings the bell, and also when motion is detected. You can see live video and interact with the system’s two-way voice feature.
To save video, you’ll need a paid plan for DIY or professional monitoring. With either plan your video clips will be saved for 60 days each.
- Protect Basic gives you storage for just $3/month or $30 with a 12-month agreement. That’s an industry-leading bargain.
- Protect Plus adds professional monitoring and covers all devices for just $10/month or $100 for a year. This is also a best value in the home security industry.
As mentioned above, the Ring Video Doorbell 2 can work wirelessly (running on battery power) or be hardwired.
Wireless setup is very easy, typically taking about five minutes. The wireless option is low-maintenance too, as the battery can hold power for years on each charge.
For hardwiring the doorbell requires a minimum of 16V. The Ring website explains how to install the doorbell with a new transformer or power adapter if needed.
Ring leads the video doorbell industry, and their Video Doorbell 2 is a best seller for its “compatible anywhere” setup and great mix of features. You can see live feeds for free, and storage costs just $3/month.
Along with great hardware you can choose an excellent deal on professional monitoring (just $10/month). A complete Ring Alarm set can provide home security, environmental protection and home automation.
2. SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro - Best No Contract Option
High quality hardware at a low price; works alone or with a larger SimpliSafe security systemLearn More about SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro
The SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro ($169) is made to compete with Ring and Nest doorbells. The equipment costs less but has similar features such as a wide-angle lens, pan and zoom, and two-way voice. In some ways the SimpliSafe doorbell has an edge, and in others it has some room for improvement. All in all it’s a best choice for people seeking affordable home security without a contract.
The Video Doorbell Pro, like others, can serve as a mini video security system. Working alone, it’s triggered by a built-in motion detector. If connected to a larger SimpliSafe home security system, it responds to other sensors too. For instance, if your glass break sensor is triggered, the doorbell camera will automatically start recording.
What We Like
- Crisp and clear 1080p video quality
- Smart sensors reduce false alarms
- Surprisingly affordable options
- Simple DIY setup and easy to use
What We Dont Like
- No third-party automation integrations
- Requires wiring, no battery-operated options
- Video recording requires subscription
- Does not have voice recognition
Motion detection with the SimpliSafe doorbell is remarkably high quality. With heat detection it can virtually eliminate false positives, whereas lesser cameras might be triggered by a bird or falling tree branch. Within a short time of this review’s posting, SimpliSafe plans to further enhance its motion detection with a sensor for human shape.
HDR imaging makes SimpliSafe an especially useful daytime camera. HDR (high dynamic range) counteracts bright light, reducing the sunny glare that’s common with other video doorbells. It can significantly extend the camera’s coverage. For instance, you might be able to catch action far away in the street, but with glare you’d only see for a few feet. Nest has doorbells with HDR as well, and the anti-glare technology is included on some but not all Ring doorbells.
SimpliSafe’s doorbell night vision isn’t so cutting-edge. With infrared you’ll get the benefit of crisp black and white video, which can of course be useful. However, with SkyBell or August you’ll get full-color recording 24 hours/day… and with Next or Ring, a low-light sensor will support color video for more time each day compared with SimpliSafe.
Without signing a contract, you can remotely control a SimpliSafe doorbell and/or an entire home security system for $24.99 per month. This optional plan also adds professional 24/7 security monitoring; SimpliSafe will automatically call emergency responders if your system is breached. Additionally this top-tier plan lets you automate your home’s door locks, lights and thermostat via the SimpliSafe mobile app.
A cheaper option is paying $14.99/month, but this doesn’t include remote control nor professional monitoring.
Thirty days of cloud video storage for one doorbell camera adds $4.99. You can store video from unlimited SimpliSafe cameras for $9.99/month total.
While most SimpliSafe equipment is wireless, the Video Doorbell Pro needs to be hardwired. It works with the electrical systems of old and new homes alike; it can replace wired doorbells from 8V to 24V. Do-it-yourself installation takes about 30 minutes, and often the only tool needed is a Phillips screwdriver.
Multiple interchangeable face plates are available: obsidian, cloud and jade (aka black, white and green).
All in all, the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro is a best no-contract doorbell for home security. It compares favorably with Google Nest Hello doorbells ($229) and Amazon’s Ring Video Doorbell Pro ($249), and you can add professional emergency monitoring for less than $1/day.
SimpliSafe lets you try their equipment risk-free. If you want to return the doorbell, call SimpliSafe within 60 days and arrange for free return shipping.
3. Nest Hello - Best Google Home Integration
A smart doorbell with facial recognition and the industry’s best Google Home integrationLearn More about Nest Hello
The Nest Hello video doorbell ($229) can work alone or with a multi-part Nest system for home security, environmental monitoring, and home automation. Its main advantage over competitors is that Nest products have the best Google Home integration available. For instance, with Google Assistant voice commands you can stream doorbell video to a Nest hub or Chromecast TV screen.
Beyond the Google Home compatibility, Nest Hello has all the smart doorbell features that shoppers expect in 2019: a wide viewing angle, crisp night vision, two-way voice and more. It has less common features too, such as facial recognition and the ability to play customized messages for visitors.
What We Like
- Innovative facial recognition feature
- Oversized viewing screen for full picture
- Works seamlessly w/Google and Nest products
- Users can set custom home and away rules
What We Dont Like
- Can be tricky to install and setup
- Subscription required to store video
- Relatively expensive device
- Requires chime box to function
Unlike the SimpliSafe and Ring doorbells above, Nest Hello streams video 24/7 (not just when triggered by motion). You can scan through up to 30 days of history. For your convenience three-hour snapshot histories are also stored, allowing quick review. That’s the most generous video storage available, which makes sense with Google owning Nest.
When you’d like a break from DIY monitoring, Quiet Mode lets you disable the alert chime. Meanwhile facial recognition can let the doorbell camera recognize familiar faces. Combine facial recognition and Quiet Mode to leave pre-recorded messages; make specific messages for each known visitor!
Nest Hello requires hardwiring. If the unit is replacing an existing bell with transformer between 16 and 24V, you can use the existing wiring and transformer without modification.
If you don’t have a doorbell already installed, or if the existing unit uses a different transformer, you can use a power adapter. Nest can refer an electrician for pro installation.
For DIY monitoring, Nest gives you free access to live video and basic notifications, plus you can see snapshots triggered by motion detection up to three hours in the past. You’ll need a paid subscription to stream old video, save new video and get advanced notifications. Pricing is attractive at just $10/month or $100 for a prepaid year.
Professional monitoring is available month-to-month for $29 through Nest Secure. Nest Secure can help guard against crime, protect your home from fire, support home automation and more. Emergency monitoring is provided in partnership with Brinks, a home security company known for the fastest response times.
Nest Hello is the best doorbell camera for a Google-friendly home. Just by speaking, you can send its footage to your tablet, TV and other screens. Facial recognition and the option to customize messages also make this unit stand out.
Google sells Nest Hello with theft protection and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
4. SkyBell HD - Best Field of View
The hardiest video doorbell for extreme climates, and records color video in any lightLearn More about SkyBell
SkyBell HD is a reasonably-priced doorbell camera ($199) with free video storage (seven days per clip) and doorbell theft replacement. It takes the award for best field of view thanks to a 180-degree lens with minimal fisheye effect. Maybe even better, SkyBell HD records color video at night. Video will be recorded when motion is detected, plus you can snap pictures by pressing a button in the SkyBell app.
This smart doorbell needs to be hardwired. That might be a turnoff, but installation can be straightforward without special skills. Also consider the climate before committing to a wireless alternative. SkyBell HD can withstand extreme heat and cold; it works from -40 and 140℉. For comparison the best-selling wireless Ring video doorbell is only guaranteed for -5 to 120℉. From Arizona to Alaska, SkyBell may be best.
What We Like
- Remote two-way communication
- Simple DIY installation and setup
- Attractive design and aesthetic
- Provides 1080p HD video quality
What We Dont Like
- Limited equipment options
- May be difficult to install
- Relatively pricey up-front cost
- Customer service isn’t great
The specs list is impressive! A 180-degree field of view is rare, and SkyBell pulls it off with minimal fisheye distortion.
This doorbell camera is especially effective for nighttime recording. Note that unlike some cameras above, however, it doesn’t have HDR to reduce daytime glare.
A possible shortcoming is that unlike the SimpliSafe doorbell, SkyBell HD isn’t designed for straightforward integration with a full system; SkyBell doesn’t make window sensors, glass break sensors or other security equipment.
A SkyBell can be installed over existing wiring for a mechanical or digital doorbell. It’s designed to work on 10-36VAC. Details are published on the SkyBell website.
Most SkyBell customers monitor the doorbells entirely on their own with a free app. SkyBell doesn’t have a professional monitoring service, and they don’t sell security equipment besides doorbell cameras. However, owners can add the SkyBell HD to full systems in partnership with Honeywell, Monitronics and Alarm.com.
The SkyBell HD is an attractive stand-alone option for do-it-yourself home security. It provides more coverage than its leading competitors, plus it records color video regardless of ambient light. At just $199 plus free video storage, the price is hard to beat.
5. August Doorbell Cam - Most Affordable Monthly Plan
Ultra high-resolution doorbell camera with a floodlight for nighttime color video surveillanceLearn More about August Doorbell
The August Doorbell Cam is a hardwired home security solution that can capture color video by day or night. While the Skybell HD (above) has color night vision, the August doorbell activates a floodlight to allow color recordings at night. HDR isn’t included, but video is ultra high-res as listed below. An affordable monthly subscription ($2.99) lets you play back any videos from the past 24 hours and save video for 15 days.
You can combine the Doorbell Cam with August smart door locks. Using the August mobile app, you can remotely unlock your door when the camera shows a trusted visitor.
What We Like
- Impressive live-streaming via mobile app
- Integrates with third-party platforms
- HindSight feature records before activity occurs
- Built-in floodlight for low-light conditions
What We Dont Like
- Monthly cloud storage can be pricey
- Relatively bulky design and construction
- Customer support could be improved
- Users must have mechanical chime
Along with its floodlight feature, the doorbell camera is impressive for its high pixel count. It provides about 33% more detail than the typical high-quality doorbell camera for 2019.
The August Doorbell Cam Pro can work with existing wiring to replace a mechanical chime doorbell. It runs off 12-24VAC. Setup is simple and for many homes the only tool required is a Phillips screwdriver. In other case you’ll need a drill. Mounting brackets are provided.
Without a subscription you’ll get previews of all activity at your door. With payment of just $2.99/month you can save video clips for 15 days each. A $4.99/month payment saves video for 30 days.
Equipped with a floodlight, the Doorbell Cam Pro can record especially high-resolution security video by day or night. It has a narrower lens than the other cameras in this review, but 120 degrees is ample for the typical home. August’s $2.99/month plan for 15 days of video storage is among the best deals in home security.